Game of Thrones “The Dance of Dragons” – What was Different?

HBO’s Game of Thrones continues to offer its own take on Martin’s novels in its latest episode, “The Dance of Dragons.” While this episode didn’t feature any spot on similar scenes to the same ones in the novels, many of its altered scenes had some resemblances to how things played out on paper. There was one segment in particular that angered me due to the drastic alterations the show runners put in place, but after reading a bit about it today I learned that Martin himself told them to make the change, so it may be a disturbing moment that gets fleshed out in books six and seven of his A Song of Ice and Fire epic after all.

Head on down below to see the differences, and the similarities that were featured in the latest episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones as it relates to the A Song of Ice and Fire franchise. There are also a bunch of new behind the scenes videos and a preview of next week’s episode in the “Videos” section after the analysis.

SPOILERS, you have been warned about SPOILERS, repeat, there are SPOILERS below for the show and the novels.

What was Different

Ramsay’s men attack Stannis’ camp – Ramsay never sends a band of 20 men to terrorize Stannis’ war camp. Stannis does struggle with supplies thanks to being stuck in a huge winter storm, but he’s never waylaid by Ramsay in his pursuit of Winterfell.

Jon Snow returns from Hardhome – In the books Jon never makes the trip to Hardhome, so he never returns from Hardhome with a band of Wildlings. Although, there have been Wildlings, complete with a giant, living at Castle Black already, so there is a bit of truth to this particular segment.


Stannis sends away Davos – Stannis never dismisses Davos from his side to go back to the Wall for supplies because Davos is never with him during his march on Winterfell in the books. Davos is actually trying to round up support from the Manderly’s while Stannis is stuck in the snow en route to Winterfell.

Jaime and Prince Doran’s deal – Jaime and Bronn never go to Dorne, so this exchange never takes place. Prince Doran never agrees to send Myrcella back, nor does he want his son on the small council. In fact, Cersei actually offers Doran a seat on the council, not his son. So no, Bronn doesn’t get his teeth knocked out by Areo Hota.

Arya hunts Ser Meryn Trant in Braavos – Arya never spies Ser Meryn Trant in Braavos, so she never hunts him down to a brothel and exchanges curios looks with him. In the book she actually kills her target at the market and a Black Brother causing trouble.

Stannis burns his daughter for the Lord of Light – This is the scene that I took umbrage with in last night’s episode. It hasn’t happened in the books, so I feel that it gives TV viewers the wrong impression of Stannis. Although, Martin did come out today and said he suggested that this scene take place in the show, so there’s a good chance it may still happen, but for now it remains a huge departure from the novels.


The fighting pit scene – A similar scene takes place in the novels, but there were enough differences in this version of the fighting pit debacle to justify it as a “difference.” First off, Tyrion and Jorah have yet to be introduced to Dany, so she isn’t using the little guy as an advisor, and Jorah doesn’t fight for her honor in the pits. Second, the Sons of the Harpy don’t stage a massive coup. Hizdahr isn’t killed, Jorah doesn’t gain favor with Dany, and her entourage are never quite the targets they were in the TV show. Drogon does make an appearance after smelling and hearing the events of the day’s fights, and Dany does ride off on him, but first he actually doesn’t play too nice with her and tries to burn her, but we all know that doesn’t work on the Queen of Dragons, so she survives and is taken away to a far off place.

The TV show has also completely skipped over the fact that Mereen is under siege by Yunkai forces, and that Quentyn Martell comes to Mereen to ask Dany to marry him since his family once had a pact with the Targaryans. In the show it appears that only the Sons of the Harpy will be the threat to Dany’s rule.

What was Similar

While there were a few scenes with slight similarities, there wasn’t a single spot on recreation of a book moment in this episode of Game of Thrones.

The Videos


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Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.